Death's Head #9
Issue(s): Death's Head #9
Simon Furman's Death's Head is a really great character. Very amusing, with a fun speaking manner and lots of fun stories about the trials and tribulations of a freelance peacekeeping agent (don't call him a mercenary). If you haven't read it, you should go right now and buy all 10 issues of this series, and maybe hunt down Death's Head's appearances in the UK Transformers series and the "High Noon Tex" short story which has been reprinted a number of times. Unfortunately, while he is a character that has interacted with the Marvel Universe on occasion, most of his appearances take place in an alternate future, and he also has the habit of hanging out with characters like (as noted) the Transformers and Doctor Who (please don't tell me to call him just the Doctor). So i don't get to cover most of his appearances directly, although the Incomplete Death's Head series gives me a loophole in the form of a framing sequence.
This issue, which i can cover because it takes place in the Marvel universe's present, is made possible thanks to Doctor Who, who has dumped him here after last issue. He's wound up on the roof of the Fantastic Four's building.
And unluckily for him, Mr. Fantastic is testing out an upgraded security system.
Eventually he makes his way into the building, but we're well into a Misunderstanding Fight at this point.
But Death's Head isn't the real threat. The FF's security system has gone haywire.
It's originally thought that Death's Head is a guy in a suit of armor, but it comes out that he's a robot.
And when the FF learn that, Mr. Fantastic determines that he's best suited to deal with the security module that is going after Franklin Richards. Death's Head, being a... freelance peacekeeping agent, only agrees to help in return for being allowed to access Mr. Fantastic's time machine.
Death's Head rescues Franklin, but as he's being send back to his own time, he acknowledges that he's not a super-hero and that he kills people for a living. Mr. Fantastic then tries to prevent him from being sent back to his own time, but manages to only pull him back to 2020.
Which means next issue will have an Iron Man 2020 guest appearance.
Cool stuff. I wonder if the guest stars in this issue and next were a last ditch attempt to boost the book's sales, since issue #10 is the final issue. Death's Head will appear in a couple of US Marvel comics, and then he'll be replaced by the (inferior, in my opinion) Death's Head II in time for the Marvel UK invasion of 1992.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has to take place before Fantastic Four #337-341, when the Fantastic Four meet Death's Head again and recognize him, with a reference to this story. The problem is that the setting for this story is Four Freedom's Plaza (i.e. not the Baxter Building) and we have a classic configuration for the Fantastic Four, with the Thing in rock form. That's more difficult to place than you might think, since the Thing is off the team / a pineapple / human for a long time until Fantastic Four #350. But he does have an exoskeleton, and that's what we can use for this story. The MCP places this between Fantastic Four #333-334 (which is actually not too far from publication date).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showDeath's Head, Franklin Richards, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic, Thing
"...please don't tell me to call him just the Doctor"
"...thanks to Doctor Who"
I won't but... B-But... I also wouldn't have said anything if you hadn't told me not to! Why must you hurt me so, fnord?
Posted by: Max_Spider | December 11, 2015 12:40 PM
Merlin the Wise (also shows up in the Matrix of Gallifrey, in a meeting of time-sensitive species, enlisting the Doctor's aid on two separate occasions. When Merlin shows Roma his many forms, "Merlin the Wise" is among them.
Captain Britain fans may also be interested to know that the backstory of the Special Executive is shown in Doctor Who back up stories by Alan Moore, in which they are employed by Time Lords in early Time Wars.
Due to the multiversal nature of both Merlin and the Special Executive, these can easily be considered the same entities.
Death's Head is relevant for Doctor Who fans in that Josiah W. Dogbolter seems to meet his end in those stories. Though he still seems to be owned by the Doctor Who side rather than the Marvel side, his death is later acknowledged (resurrections tend to be the exception in Doctor Who, aside from a few repeat offenders).
Dogbolter's servant, Hob, will reappear to harass Death's Head II at some point.
Posted by: Max_Spider | December 11, 2015 12:55 PM
I don't think the guest appearances were last-ditch. My memory is certainly fallible, but i remember the crossovers being teased well in advance, with Simonson's excellent cover circulating fairly early.
It truly is a shame that Death's Head gave way to his successor. I'm glad Kieron Gillen brought him into SWORD and Iron Man.
Posted by: cullen | December 11, 2015 5:02 PM
I won't insist that you refer to the Doctor as Doctor Who. I will, however, insist that you refer to Tony Stark as "The Invincible Iron Man" rather than just "Iron Man" and Bruce Banner as "The Incredible Hulk", rather than just "the Hulk".
Posted by: Stevie G | December 13, 2015 2:47 PM
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